How many myths about freelancers and freelance hubs have you heard by now? Probably enough to approach them with caution.
Have you ever been ghosted by a freelancer? There are no emails, no work, no feedback: nothing at all from a person who was at your full disposal just moments ago.
Your favorite developer is nowhere to be found. A devoted project partner has just turned into a ghost. The project is at a halt. The budget keeps draining down the hole, and you need to solve the problem – fast! Such a happenstance can propel a belief that all myths about freelancers and freelance hubs truly happened.
A developer leaving without a word is just an example of many horror stories about freelancers that raise unnecessary fears in clients.
Myths about Freelancers and Freelance Hubs That Are Completely False
If you are reading this, you have either:
- Have had your fair share of poor experiences with bad freelancers.
- Worry that a bad freelancer will ruin your next project.
Poor experiences come with a creepy feeling that your next project is destined for a fail.
Doomsday seems like just around the corner.
In that brief moment, you think that hell is on Earth. How come you didn’t notice those freelancer red flags on time?
(Around Halloween, myths, legends, horror stories, haunted places, and spooky characters lure from any every corner. They remind us that we need to honor the scary stuff, if, for nothing else, then just to remember the lessons learned from emerging too fast and too soon into the unknown and the uncertain.)
But can a handful of myths about freelance hubs and workers you find there eradicate countless promising success stories of so many digital agencies and scalable startups? The answer is a definite “no”.
Digital products and risk go hand by hand. There is always some amount of fear involved. This is a good fear, the one that gets the entrepreneurial blood pumping.
Some freelancers from hell really do exist. But if you fall for the myth about freelancers and freelance hubs, thinking they are unreliable, you will let fears paralyze your efforts. You will fail to expand beyond the comfort zone of your organization.
Don’t Fall for these Hilarious Myths about Freelancers and Freelance Hubs
If you don’t collaborate with freelancers, you are missing on an untapped potential that can deliver world-class products.
To become confident in the uncertain freelance world, all you need is a change of perspective.
Many popular myths about freelancers and freelance hubs are just scarecrows.
It is time to bust those myths. Let’s help those ghosts lay to rest.
Freelancer myth #1. You cannot trust them
How can you trust and work with someone you never saw in person? It is true that you need to be apprehensive when meeting new people.
But let’s take as an example Minnie Castevet, the friendly neighbor from the famous horror classic “Rosemary’s Baby”. Minnie fell into the “nice old lady stereotype”. In the end, she turned out to be responsible for bringing the little baby devil to life!
Working with freelancers can be gratifying if you learn how to build trust.
- In the beginning, keep tasks and project cycles short and sweet.
- Clearly agree on the tools and technologies you’re going to use.
- Communicate on time.
Unlike the example with Rosemary, don’t forget to use your gut sense during interviews!
Freelancer myth #2. They’re not in for the long-haul
How do you know that a freelancer won’t quit after a day or two?
After all – isn’t that what the freelance lifestyle is all about?
Not really! It’s time to bust the common freelance myth about ‘freelance vampires’ once and for all.
Freelancers are not interested only in short gigs that suck the blood out of the project.
Many freelancers are interested in building long-term relationships with clients.
- Give them a boost by elaborating on the larger project picture.
- Ask them how they can contribute to making it brighter.
Vampires don’t bode well under the sun.
So if you shed some light on long-term projects at the start, you’ll definitely invest in reliable freelancers. You won’t need the garlic and the pointed sticks.
Freelancer myth #3. They are unavailable
How do you know that a freelancer will show up when you need them?
Don’t they just scatter time across multiple projects?
In fact, freelancers are very concerned about being available.
Freelance work is a type of entrepreneurship. So if you want to have your freelance team available when you need it, set some clear boundaries and deadlines. It will help both you and the freelancer breathe a sigh of relief and set expectancies.
There are many virtual tools that can help you get the best of the freelancers’ vigor, enthusiasm, and unique skills. They can contribute more than what you get from a conventional office employee.
Freelancer myth # 4. Power imbalance
Your career depends on your project. How do you get quality work from someone whose career doesn’t depend on it?
Conversely, the freelancer can think the same things about you. How do I know that my client won’t ditch me after I make one tiny mistake? Will they replace me with a colleague before I can get a chance to explain myself?
There is a grain of truth to both sides of the story. But many myths about freelancers arise from distorted stories about power balance.
As Lord Varys from the “Game of Thrones” said:
“Power resides where people believe it resides”.
Credit: Pop Cultural Studies
- Be clear about the power and the resources you are investing in the project.
- Expect the same from the freelancer.
In turn, you’ll stay safe from typical freelance horror stories, including product design gone wrong, and poorly executed apps.
Freelancer myth #5. They’re inconsistent
Here are some typical questions about consistency:
- How do you deal with inconsistent freelancers?
- What happens when a freelancer leaves a project and you need to find another one immediately?
- How do you tackle different working habits?
A frequent myth about freelance workers is that they don’t consistently provide the best work for clients.
But here is the other side of the coin:
- Along with the liberty to choose different gigs comes the responsibility to show up consistently.
- Freelance work involves a fair amount of risk on the freelancer’s behalf. They need to find work, chase clients, prompt payments, and manage an office.
Therefore, if you thought freelancers think projects are a child’s play, you have fallen victim to the myth about unreliable freelancers.
After all, more than 40 percent of the U.S. workforce who work freelance can’t be unreliable.
Freelancer myth #6. Breakdowns in communication
How do you deal with communication breakdowns?
Freelancers do sometimes act like ghosts: they disappear.
They can talk in a completely different language due to cultural differences. In the spirit of Halloween, they can seem like ghosts.
Halloween is the time for celebrating ghosts, aliens, and weird creatures.
But this is only good if they come dressed in costumes knocking at your door for a trick-or-treat.
No one likes being left in the dark in digital organizations by living through the reality of popular myths about freelancers.
There are plenty of reasons for your part-time gig partners to leave and they are difficult to predict.
You don’t need to own a crystal ball to unravel all such mysteries. Here is what you can do instead:
- Raise your preparedness levels by establishing ground rules on communication platforms.
- Have a backup person, just in case
In today’s abundance of virtual talent, you cannot let one freelance horror story create a lasting impression. Remember – everyone is replaceable!
Freelancer myth #7. Lack of team culture
The lone-wolf mentality is not so rare in the freelance lifestyle. Yet, judging the many by the few is not an objective standpoint.
True, the nature of freelance work, such as long hours of coding or researching writing material can impact the member’s alignment with a team. However, that’s not always the case.
You can’t let the natural negativity bias affect your decisions when you decide about the best person to work on a team.
It’s a common prejudice that the freelance lifestyle is antisocial. Many freelancers work in coworking spaces, organize meetups, and abundantly share on social channels.
Can it be that you’re letting Halloween myths about freelancers affect your way of thinking?
Freelancer myth # 8. The Doctor Who freelancer
How do you pick up an expert when you don’t know what you are looking for? Does this person justify the skills and the education placed in their resume, profile, or portfolio? Aren’t they kind of vague? They’re not telling you anything concrete.
The problem of ‘false experts’ is often the problem of ‘falsely communicated expertise’.
To weed out bad freelancers and protect yourself from a real-life horror story, ask the expert to provide you more details about how they will deal with your specific project.
This approach translates skills from theory to practice and provides another assurance level.
Freelancer myth #9. Gig workers can be vindictive
Most bad freelancers don’t harbor years of resentment like the most famous villains from horror movies. But there are the occasional web developer horror stories that include unethical or vengeful working practices.
When things go awry between a client and freelance service provider, anything is possible:
- A fully functional website vanishes into the thin air.
- Malware is all over your platform.
- Years of developed source code go to your competitor.
You have not only jeopardized your business but also your client’s privacy and security.
Sounds pretty horrific doesn’t it?
Well – these are things that can happen in any work environment. It doesn’t have to be a freelance project.
First, relax – there is nothing a web developer can do that cannot be reversed. But you can still protect yourself by taking it easy with new freelancers:
- Assign limited repository access
- Implementing source controls
- Sign an NDA agreement
Halloween is an incredibly propitious time to dispel some common myths about freelancers and freelance hubs.
Most freelancers are not the flaky, sketchy characters that could ruin your cherished project in a jiffy. They can bring fresh value to your project, only if you take the plunge and leave those unfounded fears aside.